Ranked 66th in the world by the PSA, the phenomenal Farhan Mehboob of Pakistan has won the very first President Gold Cup International Squash Cup, defeating Leo Au of Hong Kong in a five-game match to victory.
More Information on Farhan Mehboob (Pakistan): http://www.squashinfo.com/players/74-farhan-mehboob
Mehboob’s Outstanding 2016 Year
The 28 year old who was born and resides in Peshawar joined the PSA in 2003. This left handed player had a great 2016 year, as he won the FMC International in May, reached the semi-finals in October at the CNS International, and just recently won the CAS International in November. From May 2016 to January of this new year, Farhan Mehboob has played 26 games. Incredibly, he has won 24 of them and lost only 2.
On a hot streak straight from his CAS Int’l win, Mehboob entered the January competition of the President’s Gold Cup with confidence — and rightly so. His semi-final game against second seed Mohamed Reda of Egypt was spectacular.
The semi-final found Mehboob, a number 7 seed, playing against second seed Mohamed Reda of Egypt, who he decimated to both Reda’s surprise. Despite not always being treated with the pro status he deserves, this Pakistani always comes through when his country needs him the most.
This wonder kid who has not always been treated with respect by the PSF (Pakistan Squash Federation) — but after his incredible showing in his 2016 tournaments, perhaps this will change.
At the Mushaf Squash Complex in Islamabad, Mehboob began his first game and took an easy lead before number two seed Reda staged a comeback. Keeping his composure, the 28 year old Pakistani took the first game from the Egyptian in 13 minutes of incredible showmanship.
Reda was implementing some great tactics, blocking Mehboob’s path towards the ball and not clearing the way. While Mehboob lodged several protests to the chair ref, nothing came of them and to his credit, he kept focused and did not lose patience.
While Mehboob started the second game down, he saved the game once again in only 11 minutes. With Reda looking rather stunned to say the least, the third game was where it got interesting. While Mehboob took the lead and enhanced it, Reda blocked his path once again and as Mehboob stopped to look at the referee — to the player and crowd’s utter disbelief — the ref actually awarded a point to Reda rather than warning him or giving stroke. The ref gave Mehboob a conduct warning for showing dissent and using delaying tactics.
At this point in the third game both Mehboob and the crowd (including the former Squash greats who attended the tournament, were unhappy with the blatantly poor treatment of the Pakistani player. While Mehboob let the frustration momentarily get the best of him and made some mistakes, hitting the tin twice, Farhan Mehboob charged ahead and took the game 11-9, winning the match.
The finals saw Fahran Mehboob pitted against Leo Au of Hong Kong. Outclassing the top seed in the first two games, with an 11-4 victory (7 minutes) in the first game and another 11-4 victory (7 minutes) in the second, Mehboob was steamrolling over Au. But things would be heating up in this final match and the race to the Cup was hard fought.
The third game began with Mehboob down in the count but he staged a comeback twice with some outstanding shots in order to level the score. However, the Pakistani made 5 unforced errors at a crucial stage and Hong Kong’s Leo Au won the third game 11-8 (8 minutes).
The fourth game was also taken by Leo Au, but this game was more difficult for both Mehboob and the crowd, who noticed that just like in the semi-final round, the referee held a number of dubious decisions against him. Two controversial decisions went against the wonder kid of Pakistan, which allowed Hong Kong’s Au to bounce back and win the game 12-10 in 14 minutes.
This squared the match at 2-2.
Nearly losing control as he battled back and forth with Au in the fourth after the ref’s biased decisions, his coach and father Mehboob Khan came out and calmed him down. This did the trick and perhaps even gave him the confidence to walk out proud in the fifth. Farhan entered the court in a calmer, more determined mood, and absolutely ripped Leo Au apart to take a 10-3 lead. Au lost his cool and began protesting loudly — the referee gave him a conduct warning. Mehboob simply rode out the rest of the game like a champion and won the fifth game 11-3 in 12 minutes time.
Winning the $25,000 prize, the number 7 seed showed his prowess on the court once again. Being halfway through the Squash season, it is interesting to see his progress and what future tournaments hold in store for this phenomenal Pakistani pro.